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Two days before the storm began, Houston's chief elected official warned her constituents to prepare as they would for a major hurricane. Many took heed: Texans who could stocked up on food and water, while non-profits and government agencies set out to help those who couldn't.

As temperatures plunged and snow and ice whipped the state, much of Texas' power grid collapsed, followed by its water systems.

Tens of millions huddled in frigid homes that slowly grew colder or fled for safety. And a prideful state, long suspicious of regulation and outside help, was left to seek aid from other states and humanitarian groups as many of its 29 million people grasped for survival.

But few foresaw the fiasco that was to come. They could not be prepared.
Amid widespread power losses, millions of Texans were also advised to boil their water for safety. Hospitals are facing those same challenges and a surge in dialysis patients.Chaotic scenes were playing out all over Texas on Thursday as hospitals faced an onslaught of problems from the brutal storm: wintry indoor temperatures, a dearth of generators, acute water shortages and a spike in emergency room visits by patients in desperate need of dialysis treatment and oxygen tanks.